MPs: Smart meters could be more than energy saving tech
Smart meters could provide benefits related to optimising electricity generation and storage and paving the way for a smart energy system.
However, the government is not being clear on the wider benefits of the technology, according to the Science and Technology Committee.
The government plans to install 53 million smart meters across homes and businesses across the UK by 2020.
The committee believes Theresa May’s administration is more focused on highlighting the savings smart meters could bring to customers although the amount is expected to be small compared to other benefits.
Its report added the major benefit among all “will be paving the way for a smarter energy system where we can enhance energy security and reduce pollution by optimising generation and supply”.
It also found in some cases customers who received smart meters during the first phase of the project, which began in 2011, will lose the “smart” functionality if they switch suppliers.
This, however, will not affect smart meters in the mass rollout due to start shortly but the issue with early meters remains unresolved, the Committee added.
Tania Mathias, Interim Chair of the Committee, said: “It would be easy to dismiss the smart meter project as an inefficient way of saving a small amount of money on energy bills but the evidence suggests there are major national benefits, including establishing a smarter, more energy secure grid. The government needs to have more clarity around this so householders are clear about the true benefits.
“The smart meter mass rollout has been delayed but the government and suppliers must not skimp on engaging with customers in the rush to fit 50 million more meters by 2020. The evidence shows that homeowners and businesses need to receive tailored advice about how they can benefit from smart metering. The ‘smartness’ comes from what customers can do with them – fit and forget would be a wasted opportunity.”
Commenting on the report, a BEIS spokesperson said: “Smart meters will bring Britain’s energy infrastructure into the 21st century – as the Committee has made clear. The rollout will end estimated bills, help consumers save energy and money and support a smarter energy system for decades to come.”